tv The Dylan Ratigan Show MSNBC November 15, 2010 4:00pm-5:00pm EST
the lobbyists and special interests' checkbooks out, marching orders in line, licking their chops. plus, raise your hand if you want to go to mars and not come back. scientists proposing one-way tickets as the best way to reach other planets. would you be up for that? the show starts right now. before we get into the one-way ticket to mars, we'll start with the issue de jure around here on the dr show. the homeland department asking for patience with those pat downs. with but patience has already run out for one passenger after this testy exchange with a tsa screener, the man's cell phone catching the entire ordeal on camera. >> if you touch my junk, i'm going to have you arrested.
i don't understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying. >> well, consumer and civil rights groups, even airline pilots, have pounced, claiming this tighter tsa screening simply goes too far. in fact, fliersrights org today called on passengers to not only boycott those scanners but also insist any pat downs be done in private. as for the pilots, these concerns center around if these machines are even safe. the world's largest pilot union is asking to boycott the full-body scans because of concerns over radiation. an fda review of the scanner says there's no immediate health threat, but with some pilots being screened three, four, five times in sanl day. the pilot's union argues there is no precedent to predict the effects radiation could have on them long-term considering the frequence of use. homeland security secretary janet napolitano maintaining today the machines are safe and
the pat downs are discreet. >> it's being done for passenger safety and security and because the changing threat environment that we inhabit. >> but others like our first guest today argue that's a moot point. and the christmas day underwear bomber as well as the recent cargo bomb plot prove that technology like these body scanners can't and doesn't stop terrorists trying to get explosives on to airplanes. very simply. isaac is the former head of security for israeli's national airline, and the israeli airport security is the most complimented in the world for the quality of its security. obviously, israel high on the target list when it comes to terrorist attacks. and as such, had a strong incentive to respond. think of it like when the i.r.a. was active so many decades ago in london, they had a strong incentive to make sure it was hard to put a car bomb in certain parts of town. and isaac now runs his own
private security consulting firm and we welcome you to the program. >> thank you. >> do these machines prevent -- are they prohibitive to getting explosives on airplanes? >> no. this is only a small part of the entire system. how to prevent terrorists going on board of the aircraft and to blow up aircraft or hijack an aircraft. this is technology. >> so where would you draw the line as a philosophical approach to airline security, passenger interaction, the experience of being a passenger, boarding an airplane, domestic or international travel, and the task at hand, which is make sure no explosives get on the airplane. >> first, let me answer you about the technology. the best technology in the world cannot replace [ inaudible ] a human being. it's an illusion to think that technology will give us the answer. technology we have for so many years. what happened in 1998 with panama over lockerbie?
what happened september 11th. what happened with the shoe bomber. where's the technology? >> or the car bomb the other day just out of yemen. >> exactly. it proves we cannot rely on technology. hire qualified people, train them well. let them be able to interview passenger before they go to the check-in counter. anyhow, passengers are waiting in line to go to the check-in counter. >> i want to make sure you understand this. you're waiting while people are in that line, you take advantage of that waiting time and send hired professionals to everybody in that line -- correct. everyone. no discrimination. no rationalism. all what we have to do is to interview everyone. i don't know what country you are. you are not. religions. color, i don't care about this. i want to make sure that you're a bona fide passenger. now, remember, 99.9 of the passengers that are flying are
bona fide, are honest. if you train your people to know how to approach a passenger and let them understand, let that passenger understand that i'm here to make sure that you will arrive safe and secure to your destination together with other passengers that are flying with your flight. what can be better for passenger to listen to this and to cooperate with us if he's bona fide? the suspicious, it takes less than two minutes to find out if something's wrong with him or not. we have already experienced. we have experienced in england, we have experienced in switzerland. we have enough experience with that. >> what would be the barrier to taking if not the el-al security proper protocol, or an interpretation of it and applying it to the american security protocol? >> the american system is not to be proactive. we are not proactive in this country. it's an illusion to think we are proactive.
we are only react. look what happened in -- with the shoe bomber. the results, take off your shoes. look at the nigerian, abdulmutallab. the results, a body scanner. this is the answer to the security? with this we solve the problems? why we have only to be reactive and not proactive. >> what of the civil rights or the political correctness of hiring a troop of highly trained interviewers who are then looking for racial profiles, religious profiles -- >> no, no. >> -- travel profiles -- >> no. >> so what is it that -- so, in brief, i'm your latest student and i'm going to conduct interviews, what am i looking for? >> you are in line together with hundreds of other passengers. if i were to say, you go and you stay because i want to ask you questions, that's discrimination. >> right. >> but i don't do it.
or what i do, every passenger -- >> but what are you looking for? am i looking to see, have you been to yemen? >> nope. >> what are you looking for? >> first, i want to see your passport. i want to see if your age and your face are a match. >> we do that. >> no, we don't do that. >> you're saying that -- >> look what happened with the young guy from singapore that flew to vancouver, canada, just last week. look what happened to him. he has a passport, he's 20 years old. >> okay, i got it. so better passport verification. >> number two, i want to see the visas. which country you visited. >> why does that matter to you? what if i visited yemen and saudi arabia and afghanistan? i' >> i'll answer you. yemen, they have big base of al qaeda. afghanistan, we know what's going on. there are countries that are pro-al qaeda, against the united states. i want to know if when you come to the flight, you are bona fide
or you are suspicious. >> what if i'm suspicious. >> then i will take you to the side, i'll put you in a room, i'll search your body -- >> in private? >> yeah. i'll search every piece in your luggage, in your carry-on. because i will not allow you to go to send the luggage -- >> so you have two classes. bona fide, you're going to california -- have fun, whatever you're going. >> it takes two, three minutes. >> so there's only two categories of flier? >> that's all. that's all. >> and what is the barrier to america applying this concept to our security, to basically have the two categories of flier? suspicious and not? >> nothing. >> the decision to do it. >> the decision, the security people are making. i'll give an example. when a passenger that came to fly with us in zurich or hea heathr heathrow, london. she was bona fide for herself. she had the right passport, she
was [ inaudible ] from her boyfriend that asked her to marry her, and the answer was, i love you so much, but i cannot based on our tradition to marry you before you go to israel to my family and to get their blessing. so i'll go tomorrow, what's the big deal. so he packed the luggage, he told her the luggage full with the present for his family. they will like it. he drove her to the airport. she went through the immigration, she went through the x-ray machine -- technology, again -- nothing was identified. then she came to the security, and they asked her a simple question. we are not genius to ask something that you have to be a scientist. simple questions. for example, have you been to israel? what are you going to stay? tel aviv. did you make reservations? no. why? i was told that there was always rooms. do you know how much it costs? $50.
$50, hotel in tel aviv, who told you this? here she didn't know what to answer. and more questions we asked, the guys came to the conclusion that something wrong with this woman. they took her into a separate area, opened the luggage, that she didn't know. she was innocent. and we found -- >> she was a mule, in effect. >> and we found 4.5 kilos of explosives. the woman, poor woman, pregnant, sta collapsed, started to cry and told us the entire story. >> what is your understanding of the dialogue between the department of homeland security in america and el-al or other security protocols for other countries that use similar protocols as the israeli -- >> the concept of tsa is, we in america are very big airlines. we are smaller airlines. and we ask very simple question, we fly with 747 from tel aviv to
jfk. when he lands, he needs separate gate. when he lands at jfk, he doesn't need same separate gate. the passengers don't need separate gates. they are refueling, not each one, catering, cleaning, security. what the difference between one aircraft and another aircraft? zero difference. zero difference. and i said not once, not twice, we have over 400 airports in this country. my question to the tsa -- i wrote to them and i wrote to the congress. why don't you take one airport out of 400, try to implement our system. if it works, we save life. if it doesn't work, we'll fight. i can tell you that we can do it exactly like el-al -- >> scaleable. totally scaleable as far as you're concerned? >> i have no doubt in my mind that we can do it. otherwise, i wouldn't try to.
>> and you wouldn't be here talking to me. >> exactly. now it's about time we change our wrong concept and we have to become proactive. proactive you cannot be by using technology only. >> but you can use a lot of money using technology. >> tell me the money we spend today, $8 billion a year. do we have security? look what happened in yemen. >> i know. you're going to get me all stirred up. america's specialty these days is spending a lot of money and not getting very much for it, whether it's our health care system or our security systems. we're working on it, isaac, and i appreciate your efforts in educating me and educating my audience. and we hope to continue this dialogue with you. >> a pleasure. >> thank you. isaac yeffet. what's the name of your security consulting firm? >> yeffet security consulting n inc. does a lame-duck congress have any business working on the people's business, let alone the people's tax code?
they've just been voted out, yet they can still cast critical votes on the place that is the most corrupt in our government, which is the tax code, not to mention immigration and don't ask, don't tell. plus, new blood or fresh meat? why the incoming crop of newbie lawmakers could quickly find themselves out of their element and in over their heads. how do they protect themselves and how do they maintain any loyalty to their constituency as opposed to the lobbyists who are anxiously awaiting their arrival in d.c.? we're back after this. ñ; [ sneezes ] client's here. whoa! that achy cold needs alka-seltzer plus!
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bernard, and ana marie cox, washington correspondent of "gq" magazine, and ari burrman from "the nation," not to be confused with ari melbourne. doesn't he work at "the nation"? >> yeah, and he's also been on your show, but we're not the same person. >> ari burrman has a book, "fighting donkeys." and speaking of american politics, our congressional leaders have reconvened, post-election. this is the same congress as before the election. they're back. they are going to, i don't know, re-write the tax code, maybe extend tax cuts, that could cost $4 trillion over next ten years. create no estate tax whatsoever for the first time in decades. they don't have a lot of responsibility, but they do have a little bit -- i joke. obviously, this is crazy. obviously, we've done this forever. the lame-duck session used to be longer than this.
>> well, what i think is interesting is -- >> what are we doing here? >> -- a time period where you need the so-call fourth branch of government, the media, to take a look. there's no one overseeing the lame-duck congress. and we have all these new people coming in, but the people who are already there who have been voted out are acting like they have no responsibility left to their constituents anymore. because they're not coming back, they can make these kind of deals and this is really insane. they're rewriting the tax code with no one watching. >> and i think it's important to emphasize that there is no company of our -- for all we talk of policy, military, health care, education. the tax policy, ari, is the backbone. it is what capitalism is driven by. it is how money gets spent. it is whether money pools up in one place or another place. can you imagine a time when the tax code was going to be rewritten by a bunch of people who were beholden to know one!
i feel like i've lost my mind, ari. >> i don't think we have to be too worried about it, because i don't think anything's going to get done. the democrats have already solved that problem. they should have dealt with this tax issue before they left. and they didn't. >> that's the question. the big question is, does it really take a lame-duck congress to get members of congress to actually vote their convictions and do what they think is best, or are they now going to say -- >> oh, come on! >> -- i'm so demoralized -- >> these people are bought. are you kidding me? >> there are still lobbyists on the hill, in a lame-duck congress. there are more lobbyists than ever for a lame-duck congress coming in, exactly for this purpose, to negotiate the compromise on the bush tax cuts, which it looks like the white house is going to agree to. and what's amazing to me, we talk about how important the tax code is. >> it's like our skeleton. >> that we're doing in a lame-duck congress on or at least -- >> in whatever. >> but, but there's so many other things that the democrats
have said, well, that's too complicated to take on during a lame-duck congress. >> like health care reform. >> or illegal immigration. >> democrats keep telling their bases, we'll just get to it in the lame-duck congress. then the lame-duck congress comes and they say, we can't get to it now, it's a lame-duck congress. >> it's a total bait and switch. it's a really lame duck. >> and every single poll that was taken going into the midterm shows that the american public can't stand either political party. >> and you know it's a rigged game when you've got a bunch of people paying lawyers to have meetings with politicians who no longer have a constituency, who are going to -- >> who don't care. >> -- who are going to attempt to write the tax code for the benefit of who's the lawyer -- i'm not saying they're going to pull it off, but you can see why people are skeptical. >> and there are things that are going to happen if they don't do anything, testate tax included. >> not doing anything allows a
whole bunch of tax things to happen that are insane. fresh meat. this is either good, because you're going to have the sort of honest inquiry, with a lot more skepticism, perhaps, to the process and to the decision making. or you have easy marks for professionals to get to do whatever they want to do. >> yeah. i mean -- >> which is it? >> it's probably going to be more fresh meat than new blood. basically all these new members of congress are entering a structural power imbalance, which means there's 25 lobbyists for every legislator. and then they lock on to lobbyists when they get there. and these tea party guys -- >> but lobbying is not inherently bad. the concept for lobbying for your interests is very democratic, right wm? ana marie believes in this and i believe in that and michelle believes this -- and we go out and say, listen, i think it should be this or this. we should be careful demonizing
lobbying, as opposed to demonizing lobbying in secret -- >> but that's what happens. >> i know. >> and people that are there now, there's something like a record number of people that are there, having held no elected office whatsoever. they're going to have trouble get together train on time, much less figuring out what to do a as a legislator. not that it's that hard, i guess, but there are going to be there ready to prey on them and to prey on to any confusion they might have. >> i'm not that worried about them. i think this is probably a good thing. i don't think they could do any worse of a job than the members of congress that have been there 20, 30, 40 years. >> i've thought that before myself, but then the next year -- but why do you feel that way? >> i think fresh meat is important. >> fresh meat or new blood? >> new blood, whatever you want to call it. for example, when we've got this whole new crop of republicans coming in, particularly the tea party people, the tea party people, or however you want to talk about them or identify them, how are day going to work with john boehner? boehner is going to have to
figure out how to work with people who are very, very ideologically aligned with certain viewpoints. they're going to have to learn how to compromise. and this might be a way of forcing members of congress, democrats and republicans to do something -- >> but isn't it so -- >> but the powers on the side aren't the people with the new blood, the powers on the side are the people with seniority and know how to work the system. and i know the founders envisioned a fresh turnover and wanted the citizen legislator to be a part of the tradition, i think what's happening here, the people elected from the tea party, and the tea party slate, they aren't really tied to an ideology, they're tied to a very specific world view. and sometimes -- and that got expressed a lot of the time in the tea party rallies, you've got to balance your budget like you balance your own budget around the table. and to have a generation of people come in with that attitude is going to be problematic. >> and for example, mike lee, who's from utah, a new senator, he just hired a lobbyist as his chief of staff. and that lobbyist specialized in
procuring earmarks. . that's the very thing that the tea party is supposed to be against. >> personally, what i think we're going to see with the tea party, where the rhetoric is incredibly well founded. it makes a lot of sense. they're tapping into. let me just finish your point. they're tapping into anger and frustration, but then the actual manifestation politically of the tea party is insane. it is completely -- >> well, i think that ari's word is right. schizophren schizophrenic. that's what happens when you have a world view. you want to balance the national budget like you balance your house budget. that is not possible. and in order to think that that's possible, you have to have, like, literally, a schizophrenic view. >> but isn't it -- i think there's something to be said for the fact that as crazy as many of them are, they are forcing a conversation that we haven't had in two years. that's critical. >> they are. but i feel like it's incredibly dangerous to let somebody hold
the mantle of reform and independence and then have them walk in and say, where are the reformers, but we are not going to engage with the transparency issues, the competitiveness issues, and the reform issues that need to be dealt with. in fact, we're just going to now manipulate it on behalf of whoever our overlords are. and i think that the false solutions that people keep buying into, weather it's the false solution of barack obama's going to safe us, but no one else has to help him and the system doesn't matter, because now we've elected him, so we're done, let's go to the beach. or look at this tea party. aren't they wonderful? >> and their leader is passing out -- is known for passing out tobacco money on the house floor. that's the very thing the tea party people are supposed to be fighting against. >> i was worried about the tea partyers bringing something like some far right-wing legislation to bear. so with very good intentions being co-opted by people like john boehner. that is the thing i worry about. it would be nice to have people who are idealistic to take a fresh look at things in process
reform. but i worry because their world view is so weirdly diametrically opposed to how things work in washington, i think they'll take the path of least resistance and we'll get more of the same. >> at least you don't have to do it at the kitchen table, you can go to "gq," msnbc -- >> much more stylish. >> you're stylish. >> yes. well, "gq" is. >> most people watch this, but they don't get to go on tv and talk about it and harass people. >> how lucky we are. >> it's a feel-good moment of the day. ari, thank you, ana marie, michelle, thank you very much. coming up next, calling all volunteers. would you guys do this? scientists saying a one-way trip to mars might be our best and only way to actually colonize another planet and save the human species. is that a ship you would board? . um...where are we?
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calling all volunteers. some scientists now saying that the best way for humans to get to mars, make it a one-way trip. the proposal coming from two scientists in the journal of z cosmetolog cosmetology. they say it wouldn't be that different from the pilgrims giving up their old lives to settle in the new world. nasa says right now all their plans do include round-trip tickets for astronauts, but last night one nasa official revealed they were looking into something even more ambitious partnering with darpa, the agency that cred created the internet. >> we have just started a project with darpa. we're going to try to set up mini grants and set up a program that will begin to invest in the technologies that will get us in 100 years a starship. >> the 100-year starship would involve travel to other star
systems, possibly numerous generations living out their entire lives while en route to other stars. we'll see how many folks sign up for that one. still ahead, 1.6 trillion reasons why it's more important than ever to find out what's really going on at fannie and freddie. how the clues to fixing our housing crisis could lie in the books of the mortgage giants. also, a news flash for those opposed to legalized pot. it's already here! we'll talk about what ti"time" magazine is calling the united states of amarijuana. after this. don't forget mrs. collier.
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freddie and the size of the loan portfolio, does it matter who runs it? in the sense of a foregone conclusion having to do with the amount of debt that that institution has. president obama announcing joseph a. smith banking commission of north carolina is his pick to head the agency that oversees the two companies that are, again, have been the source of so much housing funding in this country for years. the announcement coming as we learn that fannie and freddie have shelled out $2 billion in taxpayer cash on foreclosed properties. sounds like a lot, but in the scheme at what's at risk, it's a drop in the bucket. add this to the foreclosure scandal, it's a big risk. the housing market stuck into fannie, freddie, and the federal reserve in the context of the housing mess we're dealing with. so how did we get here? how much of this belongs on the government's books at fannie and freddie, and fit doesn't belong on the government's books, who's going to take it and how do we move forward? our next guest has intimate knowledge of all these
questions. james lockhart ran the agency and he was the top regulator overseeing fannie and freddie when the government took them over in '08. and nowadays, he's vice chairman at w.l. rossen, an investment firm here in new york. it's a pleasure and honor to have time to talk to you. my primary question on this sew, and in general, has been, don't we need more investigation into what exactly came into fannie and freddie. was it conforming with fannie and freddie's standards? was it really aaa, as the rating agency suggested? did it really comply with the warranties and guarantees that were presented by the bond issuer, but may not have actually been existent in the loan? >> well, first of all, overall, it's about $5.5 trillion, about 60% of all the single family mortgages in this country are either owned or guaranteed by fannie and freddie. so it's a big problem. the 1.6 is their portfolio, which held those
mortgage-backed, those aaas. >> and the way this work, people may take out a mortgage from jpmorgan or wells fargo, but 60% of them end up with the federal housing agencies and basically pass through the banks. >> right. it's very hard for a bank to hold a 30-year mortgage. so we had this whole secondary mortgage system built up. what happened during the boom year or the bubble year, basically, fannie and freddie lowered their underwriting standards. they were pushed by more and more affordable housing -- >> let's stop there. you're saying the willing tonnes take more risky debt into freddie and fannie was being advocated by politicians at that point? this is fairly well recorded. >> yeah, politicians, definitely. that's one of the key focuses of fannie and freddie. the other key thing was they were allowed to do this on 1% capital. we're now pushing banks to 10% capital. they were doing it on 1%. >> somebody like me complains how highly leveraged goldman is
or how highly leveraged citigroup is, you want to complain about leverage, take a look at fannie and freddie? >> yeah. we were pushing, ever since i arrived, to get legislation to change that. but it was 100 to 1 versus like 30 to 1 at morgan stanley or goldman. >> so you've got a political pressure to lower underwriting standards. you've got political lenience to allow a lot of money to be lent with very little capital in reserve. you end up, whether it's the countrywide loans coming out of southern california or the indymac this or jpmorgan that or wells fargo this, i don't care who it is, there still seems to be question about what is inside a fannie/freddie in the fed now, though, at the end game of this, and whether it is worth our while and we need to find out what percentage of that should be either pushed back to the banks, like we're seeing with the lawsuits, what percentage of that was never compliant, either because the rating was wrong, or
because it was not conforming with the lowered underwriting standards. >> if you look at the bonds, they were rated aaa. they only bought aaa. >> but you and i both know aaa -- >> and the rating agencies blew it. they had bad models and were using statistics that didn't hold up. and a lot of those bonds have been down grgradedowngraded. a lot of the underlying mortgages were subprime, alt-a, meaning very small documentation. but, again, they were getting credit for that from their affordable housing goals. so they thought that was a relatively low risk. >> but to my question -- >> and what we did is we capped those portfolios almost as soon as i arrived in may of '06. and that at least saves some of the problems. but what they did is they bought both for their mortgage-backed securities and in the form of these bonds, they bought a lot of alt-a in particular, but some
subprime bonds, mortgages, and as it turned out, the initial underwriting was extreme lly po. >> sure. and we all know that. there was fraud, there was misrepresentation, both by the mortgage broker, by the individual homeowner, and the lender. so it was across the board. fannie and freddie had been very active of pushing those mortgages back, and i think -- >> are they audit ing them? is there mb at fannie and freddie tracking each things saying, this doesn't match with this, this doesn't match with this, or should we be doing that? what they're doing on the individual loan side, which is the biggest part of their book, they actually have teams now that are going through default and mortgages to see if the paperwork matched to what they were told at time. and if it doesn't, they're pushing them back to the banks, the servicers, and that's what you're hearing about. the other piece of the puzzle, then, are these mortgage-backed bonds that were not theirs, the private legal ones with, the aaas. and now they're starting to work with the servicers to start to
push that back. that's what the federal home loan bank of new york was advocating, and i mean, the federal reserve in new york. >> so what you're telling me is there are people who are reviewing the loan books and whether it should be there or not. >> less than the private label mortgage-backed securities. fannie and freddie are doing it on the ones they own directly. >> how long is the process until we find out what percentage of what's at fannie and freddie should never have been there in the first place, because there was some fraudulence in the beginning, and/or was nonconforming or in some way was noncompliant with the standards that the taxpayer is told are upheld on their behalf so they're taking a bunch of -- >> i can tell you, again, on the ones that they own, fannie and freddie have been very active pushing them back. and then the originator has to prove that there was not a misrepresentation. and they're probably getting maybe 50% settled out of the
ones that they're putting back. we're just really starting in the private label mortgage-backed security space. >> how long do you think it will take? and do you think it's possible to conduct this audit and not ultimately disrupt meaningfully the way the banking system is currently set up? >> well, i think we need to look at these mortgage-backed securities. i think with we need to empower the servicers of those securities to do more. oftentimes, the agreements they have don't allow them to do as much as they should be. they should have the ability to be more creative in their modifications and other things, to keep people in their homes. that's really the ultimate goal we want out of this whole process, when you really think about it. yes, we can find out what happened in the past, but i think we need to keep people in their homes now, if we can. and then going forward, we need to create a new fannie and freddie-type structure, and that's going to take a lot of work by congress. >> last question for you and we'll wrap this up. when you look at the amount of
debt we have, housing debt, not just at fannie and freddie, but in general, debt, pimco's got a lot of bonds, obviously the pension funds. everybody has different sort of versions of this debt. the homeowner themselves. do you with see a way out of this that does not ultimately result in some form of either principal write-downs or meaningful restructuring of the debt and how it's going to be paid out of here considering how much of it there is and what the other variables are? >> there's certainly going to be some principal write-downs. there are these short sales that are happening more and more, and that's one way. i think the banks are doing the principal write-downs. it's hard to do it in the mortgage-backed security because the servicer does not have the power to do it. i think going forward, there's some moral hazards when you do principal write-downs. you have to be careful to people who really can't afford it. >> at the same time, when it comes to moral hazard, when you look at the bonus pool on wall street, the ship seems to have sailed for moral hazard. we've got a taxpayer subsidized universe, the most profitable
year in the history of the financial universe was '09, the year after the bailout. i'm not saying that means we should do more moral hazard, i'm saying we've already seemed to have opened up that pandora's box, do you agree? >> i'm not sure i can really get to the bonus, to the moral hazard issue. but i think what we need to do in the bonus area is make them long-term and make them related to the performance of the company and there should be give backs if there's problems. i mean, that's what we actually did with the fannie and freddie management team. we did not give them any severance at all. >> right. listen, it's a true pleasure to meet you and i hope we'll be able to continue this dialogue. it's something i certainly spent a lot of time working on. james lockhart, former director of the federal housing enterprise oversight. is that right? >> and then fhfa. >> if you work in the government, you end up with letters, but this is the guy that can help us figure out what heck is going on at fannie and
freddie. up next, just what the doctor ordered. how medical marijuana has brought the drug into the mainstream and created a situation where pot is for all intents and purposes legal in most of the country. we'll be right back. [ sneezes ] client's here. whoa! that achy cold needs alka-seltzer plus! it rushes multiple cold fighters, plus a powerful pain reliever, wherever you need it! [ both ] ♪ oh what a relief it is! [ technician ] are you busy? management just sent over these new technical manuals. they need you to translate them into portuguese. by tomorrow. [ male announcer ] ducati knows it's better for xerox to manage their global publications. so they can focus on building amazing bikes. with xerox, you're ready for real business.
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state to have a medical pot law on the books. basically meaning that within the approval of a doctor, marijuana becomes legal for that individual and that household. so despite the failure of prop 19 in california, we now have a situation where marijuana is for all intents and purposes, at least quasi legal in large portions of the country. we're joined by andrew ferguson with tim with "time" magazine, he's written a piece called "the united states of amerijuana". how do you make the argument that it's more or less legal? >> it's more or less legal in those states. . the question is, which way is the trend line going? i think that it's pretty clear, especially with this victory in arizona, that the effort to mainstream marijuana, which has been going on for about 25, 30 years, has really started to succeed. >> and you cite that, basically, by because medical marijuana, which started in a few states
with, is now cascading into more states, basically? >> it's partly that, but also the effect of the perception of what marijuana is in the states where it's been made, as you say, de facto legalized. you start to see a perception of the risks of marijuana going way down among the population, and then use rates starting to go up, especially among young people. and that kind of trend line, if the general trend in the country is to lower the risks or our perception of the risks in marijuana, you're going to see a lot more of this going on. >> and what would you say those risks were perceived to be and what would you say the risks have changed to be, optically? >> well, partly the problem has been that the case against marijuana has been kind of hysterical over the years. ion, reefer madness and all that sort of thing. but there is a very good body of evidence, a very strong body of evidence about the kinds of long-term effects that marijuana can have that i think people aren't taking into account.
it's pretty clear, for example, that heavy marijuana use, especially in young males, who are the heaviest marijuana users can double your chance of getting schizophrenia later in life. it's higher rates for depression, emphysema, a number of other things like that. >> if you were to look at the political climate around this, do you -- does your article delve into the polling around marijuana legalization, the demographics, that you talk about young men as the user. i talked to nate silver about this, and he said, basically anybody who's ever smoked marijuana is fine with it being legalized. this is a generalization. and anyone who hasn't is not. and that, basically, that is how this thing lays out. did you get any other demographic insight? >> well, the demographic is pretty clear. as i say, legalization has been getting more popular over the years. the people in favor of medical marijuana, the percentage has been going up in the high 70s, low 80s in almost all polls.
the problem is that medical marijuana, the case for it, is made by bringing out grandmothers in wheelchairs and people suffering horribly from late-stage cancer and so on. but the people who are actually taking advantage of medical marijuana in these states is really 94% or so in colorado, for example, complain of severe pain, which is a very subjective thing. and a very large number of them are young males under the age of 30. >> yeah, i asked a friend of mine how they got their medical marijuana card in california, they said they complained of anxiety. and i said, what anxiety, and they said, i'm anxious i can't get marijuana. >> that's exactly it. >> it's a little silly. andrew, congrats on the article. thanks for giving us some time. andrew ferguson, "time" magazine contributor, the article, "the united states of amerijuana." thank you, andrew. coming up on "hardball" here, obama and the lame-duck congress. michael smerconish in for chris today on "hardball." but first, should nancy pelosi stay or go?
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i can add and subtract and realize pretty quickly that there's no way i can win, but i'm going to take a stance for every moderate democrat in america. but at the end of the day, she was a leader, she was at the very top, and she has to step aside. >> all right. congressman heath shuler saying he'll likely chance pelosi for house leadership of the party. pelosi getting a lot of the blame for the midterm debacle, but is she catching extra flak simply because she's a woman. keli goth here with that in today's daily rant. is she? >> you'll have to listen to find
out. >> rant away. >> whether we like it or not, it's a question that looms whenever a minority or a member of an underrepresented group faces intense scrutiny. is that person facing greater criticism as a minority than he or she would if they were not? the question has certainly been raised when it comes to president obama, with polls showing a distinct split in between how white americans and black americans view his job performance. and michael steele admitted this is one issue as he as the first black chair of the republican national committee feels some kinship with the first black president, a democrat. steele says he's being held to a higher, tougher standard than he would be if he were white. the first female speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, can relate. when asked about some of the sexist comments that hillary clinton faced during her presidential run, pelosi called sexism a reality and added, i'm a victim of sexism myself, all the time. in one famous incident, the national republican congressional committee used the phrase "put her in her place" in a reference to pelosi, leading many women to wonder, and just what place would that be?
and there was the infamous ad in which she was depicted as a witch, literally. but the sexism she's faced is quite frankly irrelevant. without question, some of the vitriol and resistance pelosi has faced is because she is a woman, but at the end of the day, there is one question and one question only that matters to an organization, and that is whether or not a leader still has the capacity to lead effectively. the reason why a leader may not be able to do so is not really the organization's problem or at least it shouldn't be. rightly or wrongly, pelosi has become too much of a distraction with many democrats who faced defeat in the midterms drowning under the weight of her caricature. and of course, in the eyes of some, there was simply the image of a powerful women whom they couldn't put in her place, so instead they decided to hate. by breaking one of the highest glass ceilings in government, nancy pelosi has secured herself in history. but by doing the right thing and
stepping aside, she can secure her legacy. >> politics is such a tricky universe, because you do, you have policies, which have no bias, right? >> right. >> we're at war, we're going to do this with health care. we're going to do this tax loophole for energy, whatever. at the same time, you have everything you just referenced, which is clearly present, racism, sexism, et cetera, et cetera. how do you make the distinction between either those that would react to the sexism or react to the racism, or create a polarity around it. because of this, because of -- and use that as a way to distract from policy. period. and am i wrong to think that of all the different policy distractions that exist, this is yet another. not that it's not a valid issue, but that it's a way to avoid being forced to engage the